September 6, 2017
A healthy jaw contributes to your overall quality of life. You use it when you’re chatting with your friends about your latest adventures around the greater Chicago area and when you’re munching on your favorite deep-dish pizza. But what if your jaw starts to cause you pain? If you’re having discomfort there, you might have TMJ disorder. Your family dentist in Lisle is here to explain what this condition is and how you can cope with it.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint. That sounds like a really complicated term, but it refers simply to the joint that connects your lower jaw with the rest of your skull. Problems associated with this part of your body are called TMJ disorder or TMD. Sometimes, you may hear the condition referred to as TMJ.
Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw.
- Pain and stiffness in your face, particularly around your temporomandibular joints.
- You don’t have any infections, but you still feel like you have an earache.
- Swelling on the side of your face where most of your pain is.
- Your teeth are sensitive even though you don’t have any cavities.
- Your jaw gets stuck in either the open or closed position.
- Chewing your food is uncomfortable.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
While the exact cause of TMJ disorder remains a mystery, there are a number of risk factors that can increase the likelihood that you’ll be afflicted by this condition. For example, if you live a high-stress life, it can lead to muscular tension across your body, including your face. If stress causes pain in your jaw, the solution may be as simple as finding new ways to relax.
Other risk factors include:
- Poor posture
- Jaw injuries
- Connective tissue disorders
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
Even if none of the risk factors for TMJ disorder apply to you, you could still develop this condition. It can strike anyone at any time. Therefore, if you’re experiencing any discomfort in your jaw, it’s worth your time to visit your dentist in Lisle, who can help diagnose and treat the problem.
How Can You Treat TMJ Disorder?
One of the best ways to treat TMJ disorder is via a custom-made oral device that your dentist designs for you. It can help realign your bite and prevent teeth grinding at night. Other things you can do to relieve your pain include:
- Going easy on your jaw. Chew on both sides of your mouth, avoiding chewing gum, and be sure to take small bites of food.
- Doing facial exercises. Certain stretches can help relieve tension in your jaw.
- Applying heat or cold.
- Taking mild painkillers.
- Doing your best to maintain good posture.
In severe cases, surgery might be necessary to correct TMJ disorder.
Is your jaw in pain? You might have TMJ disorder. Thankfully, though, you and your family dentist in Lisle can work together to get your life back on track.
About Arbor Dental Care
Dr. Frank J. Marchese and the rest of the team at Arbor Dental Care are proud to provide a range of services to folks in the Lisle area. If you have questions about TMJ disorder or anything else related to your oral health, contact our office at 630-969-2310.
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